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El Paso County considering dog leash rule for parks

Posted: 4:26 PM, Jan 30, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-30 20:52:49-05

COLORADO SPRINGS – Should dogs roaming El Paso County parks, outside of dog parks, be on a leash at all times?

The county’s Park Advisory Board wants to know what you think.

The board wants to address safety concerns after reviewing complaints from park visitors who say the current rule is confusing and doesn’t help restrain potentially dangerous dogs.

But dog owners have their own take on it.

A couple of dog owners said visit Bear Creek dog park with their furry companions for one reason.

“The whole purpose of coming here is for urban dwellers that don’t have open spaces to let your dog run free and be a dog,” said Jay Worthen.

Kitty Nelson, another dog owner, said, her dog Ricky “gets to run free.”

But what happens dogs roam freely in other county parks, ones that aren’t just for dogs?

Visitors complain encounters can quickly turn to attacks.

“Dogs are approaching people, dogs are approaching other dogs, also chasing wildlife,” said Brian Bobeck, Park Operations Manager of El Paso County Parks.

Parks simply prohibit “uncontrolled” dogs, but don’t require leashes.

“What under control means is very subjective,” Bobeck explained.
“So what one person thinks is under control and what another one thinks – it can be two different things.”

Now, the county wants to change the rule to state all dogs and domestic animals must be leashed.

So, what do dog owners think?

Nelson said, “Small dogs on a leash might be a good idea because if he is aggressed, at least you’re close to him and you can pull him towards you.”

Meanwhile, Worthen disagrees because, he says, “if it’s a complete open space […]- as long as a dog responds to vocal commands, I don’t see a need for it.”

To prevent vandalism, the county may also park hours from dusk to dawn.
You can submit your public comment on these proposed changes through February 4 by emailing to parks@elpasoco.com or calling (719) 520-7529.

The Park Advisory Board will consider these potential rule changes at their meeting on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, at 1:30 p.m. at Centennial Hall, 200 S. Cascade.
The public is encouraged to attend.
If the rule changes are supported, final approval will be required by the Board of County Commissioners.